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Heart healthy foods

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Buffalo: Heart healthy foods
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In the produce section at your local grocery store, you'll find a rainbow: greens, oranges, yellows. Researchers now say some of the best colors for your heart are red and blue.

Dr. George Porter, M.D., Ph.D of the American Heart Association is a children's cardiologist at Golisano Children's Hospital. He said, "They may have a number of effects that could affect development of the heart and could affect heart health in general."

For 18 years, the American Heart Association studied the daily diets of about 100,000 young-to-middle aged women. The Association found that women who ate blueberries and strawberries regularly had 32-percent less chance of suffering a heart attack. The reason?

Dr. Porter said, "Anthocyanins. Little is known about these compounds and how the body processes them and what they do in the body."

The only thing that's really known about them...

Dr. Porter said, "The anthocyanins cause the blue coloring in blueberries and eggplants and things like that. The study showed that the blue coloring of the anthocyanins in blueberries and strawberries, seemed to be protective."

The study only applies to young-to-middle aged women, though. So what about the rest of us?

Dr. Porter said, "Whether or not it has effects on older women, or men, is unknown. It is thought that the heart attacks that young to middle-aged women have may be different than the heart attacks that men have or that older women have, and possibly this protects specifically from that heart attack."

The anthocyanins seem to help relax muscle groups in and around the heart, possibly preventing heart attacks. Dr. Porter says what works nutritionally for one group of women is probably a good idea for everyone.

Dr. Porter said, "In general, everybody should. I mean, you should eat a healthy diet, you should stay away from processed foods and straight sugar, more complex foods, more natural foods if you want to put it that way. Most likely, it can only be good for you."

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